C-USA: "Normal" Season Good for USM, Tulane

By Jean Neuberger - October 12, 2006

For Joye Lee-McNelis of Southern Miss and Lisa Stockton of Tulane, this year's expectations are much higher, thanks in part to their players getting a chance to have a REAL home game again, having recovered from Katrina's fury.

"A lot of our players were affected," said Lee-McNelis. "Kendra Reed's family lost their house and had to start their lives over, moving north of Hattiesburg. Lots of players' homes and coaches' homes were damaged. I try to see things in a positive light though, and the positive effect was that this team came together. The day after the storm, the whole team was at our house, picking up limbs and debris with other neighbors. We lived together and ate together. I never knew how to boil corn or cook macaroni and cheese on an outdoor grill, but we learned how. It's made this team a lot closer, so we were positively affected by the storm as well as negatively."

"We were in three different places last year," said Stockton. "I never believed that routine was that important, but when we got back, that changed. Making sure our players ate before 7 pm was a big deal, as nothing in New Orleans would stay open after 7 pm. Routine turned out to be great, and though the city is not back to normal, the team life is back to normal. We're back in our dorms, back in our gym with a new floor, and excited to play at home. We do a lot more community service though, to keep things in perspective."

Both coaches agreed that being able to move on, and return to their home arenas, was definitely a special thing.

"It's great to be back home," Stockton said.

Posted by Jean Neuberger at 08:43 PM on October 12, 2006

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